Simple spatchcock chicken is an easy recipe which will allow you to cook a delicious, juicy roast chicken in 45 minutes.
On first glance, spatchcock sounds a bit chef-y, something that you might not really want to tackle at home. But actually, it's really quick to do and does transforms a roast chicken.
What does spatchcock mean?
Spatchcock is thought to be a corruption of the phrase 'dispatch the cock' - ie eating a chicken fairly soon after it has been dispatched. It involves cutting the chicken down the backbone so that it can be laid out flat to cook. Spatchcock chicken is also known as butterflied chicken - once the bird is opened up flat, you can see the butterfly shape.
Why spatchcock a chicken?
There are some real benefits to preparing a chicken in this way.
This simple spatchcock chicken recipe will cook in around half of the time that a conventional whole chicken will take to roast
Because the spatchcocked chicken has been flattened out, it cooks much more evenly. There's no time for the breasts to dry out, and less risk of other parts of the meat not being cooked through properly. For these reasons, simple spatchcock chicken is also great to cook on the barbecue
A chicken that has been butterflied is really easy to carve. Just remove the legs, cut off the breasts whole, and then slice them through
How to prepare simple spatchcock chicken
- Lay the chicken breast side down
- Using very sharp kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone, close to the bone. Turn the chicken around and cut along the other side, so that the backbone can be removed. The cut should be around 2cm wide. (Note in the picture it looks wider as it has sagged open!)
- Turn the chicken over, and press down firmly on the breast until you hear a snap. The chicken should then open out flat
Is spatchcocked chicken healthy?
Chicken is a relatively lean meat, packed with protein and important vitamins. This recipe adds very little fat to the cooking process. However, the amount of fat that it contains will depend on whether you can resist the crispy golden skin!
What to serve with simple spatchcock chicken
I particularly enjoy butterflied chicken in the warmer months. It's delicious in the summer served with oven baked chips (made with white or sweet potatoes) and some salad. You might also like to try serving it with:
- Healthy coleslaw
- Roast cauliflower and sweet potato
- Gluten free cauliflower cheese
- Gluten free Yorkshire puddings
Simple spatchcock chicken is also great to cook for healthy meal prep. If you've got a larger family, you might want to cook a second chicken so that you have plenty of leftovers. Why not try using cooked chicken in Easy chicken ramen which is a super quick, healthy recipe.
Simple Spatchcock Chicken
- 1 medium chicken, spatchcocked as above
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- handful fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (180 fan).
- Place the chicken on an ovenproof tray with a rim. Drizzle with oil olive, thyme and seasoning. Roast for 45 mins, or until the juices run clear.
- If possible leave the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving.